Profile: Washington DC Green Business Owner
Looking for an easy way to find restaurants that support your sustainable lifestyle? Greenease founder Vanessa Ferragut talks about DC’s need for easy eco-friendly information.
Ferragut began the online search tool Greenease as a way to help DC foodies easily choose restaurants that support their sustainable lifestyle.
Greenease is a website or mobile application that allows users to search for a restaurant in their location that sources sustainably. From local farms to organic food coops, all of the restaurant claims are vetted so that eco-conscious Washingtonians can easily make a decision on where to spend their dining dollars. With more than 400 restaurants, the site allows users to drill down to find exactly what they’re looking for. This can include a range of cuisines from American to Ethiopian, but also includes dietary needs or sustainable searches. Vegans, vegetarians and raw eaters can find their specific selection of restaurants on the site. For those with Celiac disease or are trying to lower their gluten intake, there’s a gluten-free search. More sustainably conscious omnivores can find a selection of restaurants that source free-range, grass-fed or hormone-free meats, as well as sustainable seafood. There’s the local option or organic for those looking to eat clean food from the Chesapeake watershed.
Founder Vanessa Ferragut launched Greenease in 2013 during the Eat Local First Week. “There is a profound disconnect in our own food system. Today we don’t know where our food comes from, how it was grown or if it’s been modified genetically. Food is one of life’s most vital nutrients aside from, say, air and water. Without it, we wouldn’t survive. So why not embark on a mission to build awareness of the issues AND offer consumers a solution to a market that nourishes us and entertains us at the same time!” And that’s exactly what she did. More than a quarter of the restaurants have given Greenease the names of their farms and purveyors so that the team could verify that claims of organic or local were true. This is an essential part of the process given that tags like “natural” or “organic” have been so watered down by big businesses that they hardly mean anything to consumers to distinguish one produce from the next. Those restaurants on the site carrying the label “organic” must have suppliers that are also certified organic like the Pennsylvania-based collective of organic farms Tuscarora Organic Coop that serves the DC region.
While started in DC, Greenease has plans to expand to Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City soon. This national answer for an easily searchable database of sustainable restaurants has started here in the nation’s capital and Vanessa Ferragut is leading the way for green foodies everywhere.
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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture
Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.